Oct 27 2011

"The year of 2011 has been marked for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
(NKR, or Artsakh as Armenians were calling it for centuries) with
the 20th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union. The
people of Artsakh, despite various endemic challenges, made a choice
for a free and democratic development - something previously unheard
throughout the oppressive Communist era. The freedom-loving people
in Karabakh followed the requirements of then effective (i.e. Soviet)
legislation and norms of international law, and voted for independence
at a nation-wide referendum on December 10, 1991 - right two weeks
before the Soviet Union legally disappeared," says the American
analytical online publication Foreign Policy Journal in the article
entitled "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic: The First 20 Years of de-facto

Since restoring its independence, note the authors of the article, one
of the toughest challenges for the NKR remains convincing those against
Artsakh's freedom, and first of all - neighboring Azerbaijan, that
the world has changed since 1991, and that decolonization processes
take place much smoother with the adequate reaction by former members
of a single political-administrative entity. But, unfortunately,
few of former Soviet republics refuse to accept the new realities,
and cherish a partial and selective retention of Stalin's deeds.

Authors note, that historically and legally, Nagorno-Karabakh or
Artsakh has been one of the ancient Armenian principalities. During
the short period of independence of South Caucasus republics (Armenia,
Georgia and Azerbaijan) in 1918-1920, the League of Nations refused
to recognize newly-created Azerbaijan because of its territorial
claims towards Georgia and Armenia, particularly, claims over
Nagorno-Karabakh, stating that "frontier disputes with neighboring
states did not permit of an exact definition of the boundaries of
Azerbaijan." "Thus, it is extremely important to underline and keep
in mind that in 1918-1920, international community, particularly
the League of Nations, did not recognize Azerbaijan's authority over
Nagorno-Karabakh," writes the Foreign Policy Journal.

After the region's Sovietization, in 1921, the Bolshevik government,
under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, placed Armenian-populated
Nagorno-Karabakh inside the newly drawn borders of the Soviet
Azerbaijan. As it is said in the publication, when during the era
of perestroika and glasnost declared by Gorbachev the people of
Karabakh sought to legally rejoin Armenia, Azerbaijan responded
with anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku, Sumgayit, Kirovabad, Mingechaur,
total blockade of Nagorno Karabakh, and escalation of the peaceful
process into a full-scale war, which has claimed thousands of lives.

Noteworthy, that in 1991, when Azerbaijan adopted a declaration on
state independence, it proclaimed itself the successor of the 1918-1920
Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, thus, as it's said in the article,
rejecting the Soviet Azerbaijan's legal and political heritage,
including Soviet-era authority over the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous
Oblast, because the League of Nations didn't recognize Azerbaijani
authority over Nagorno Karabakh in the years of 1918-1920 Republic.